Steve Bruce answers after asked if Allan Saint-Maximin to start at Leicester and Miguel Almiron dropped
Steve Bruce is set to have a more interesting team selection dilemma on Sunday.
The Head Coach having confirmed that Sean Longstaff, Andy Carroll, Allan Saint-Maximin and DeAndre Yedlin are all available.
Yedlin and Carroll won’t be considered as starters as they recover from long-term injury but are the other two set to start?
Sean Longstaff is set to surely play alongside Isaac Hayden, as Ki is average at best and Jonjo Shelvey was always going to drop out. His performances ensuring that, even before a timely injury that will keep him our for two weeks was announced.
Steve Bruce says he has a decision to make on Allan Saint-Maximin(ASM) and he will check him in training beforehand. The head coach indicating that it is more of a mental thing with the winger, no doubt worrying he might break down again after Steve Bruce rushed him back too quickly for Spurs, only 48 hours after rejoining full training Bruce’s decision backfired when ASM had to leave the pitch with an even worse hamstring injury.
It would be a major surprise if ASM doesn’t start on Sunday, as Newcastle desperately need the spark and direct running that the winger showed as a late sub against Brighton.
The question then is who would he replace?
Much of the media have been pushing an anti-Almiron agenda this season and would love to see the Paraguayan dropped, as it would make their story complete.
However, Steve Bruce when asked, has insisted that whatever other selection decisions he makes, Miguel Almiron will stay in the team to play Leicester.
This surely has to be the way to go, Atsu has had a couple of good moments this season but as usual he contributes so little overall, disappearing from games.
Almiron is the opposite and always looking to receive the ball and try to make an impact.
Talking about Miguel Almiron, the head coach says: ‘I haven’t thought about him coming out the team because I think that he is a very, very good player. I have got to stick with him because hopefully he will get a goal…’
I certainly agree with not dropping Almiron but I don’t think him scoring a goal is the be all and end all.
Last season he made a massive contribution to the team with both goal threat and style of play, he got Newcastle on the ‘front foot’, as Steve Bruce might say.
I think the big thing that has to happen is that just like Rafa did, Steve Bruce has to produce a better and more attacking formation that means you get the best out of Miguel Almiron, who in turn will then make the rest of the team look better.
A win-win situation.
For me, the question isn’t whether Miguel Almiron has got it in him as a player, it is whether Steve Bruce has got it in himself to get the best out of players such as him?
Steve Bruce asked if Allan Saint-Maximin will start at Leicester;
“I have got that decision to make.
“Is he fit to start?
“It is still niggling around, where mentally he still feels he is not quite 100%.
“I will see what today (Friday) and tomorrow brings.
“I hope so (ASM will play).
Is Miguel Almiron set to be dropped?:
“I haven’t thought about him coming out the team because I think that he is a very, very good player.
“I have got to stick with him because hopefully he will get a goal – that will turn it around a bit.
“He takes the ball and is willingness is remarkable.
“However, he has got to be a bit more selfish himself and hopefully score a goal.
“Once he gets one it will change for him.
“The big problem with Miggy is always the same for a type like him…Where do you play him?
“What is his best position?
“He is a really, really good footballer and that is the key to it.
“He is not an out and out centre-forward or a natural number ten either, he is an old-fashioned inside forward.
“So we have got to try and get the best out of him.
“In that position though he has got to score a goal – we understand that.”
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